Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography
Parkway’s Taylor Feasel (2) brings down Marion Local’s Alex Post (32) during the Panthers’ game against the Flyers on Friday, Sept. 11, at Panther Stadium in Rockford.
Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography Parkway’s Taylor Feasel (2) brings down Marion Local’s Alex Post (32) during the Panthers’ game against the Flyers on Friday, Sept. 11, at Panther Stadium in Rockford.
BY DREW BITTNER

Times Bulletin Sports Editor

sports@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD - The Parkway Panthers entered Friday night's showdown with Marion Local looking to build positive momentum as they opened conference play, and seeking for their first victory of the 2009 season.

Marion Local had different plans, though, as the Flyers dominated the game from start to finish, and blanked the Panthers 42-0 at Panther Stadium in Rockford.

Parkway received the opening kick on the night, but in a sign of things to come, were unable to move the ball down the field, ending their first possession with a punt.

Marion Local immediately turned up the heat, opening their ensuing possession with a 33-yard passing completion from quarterback Jarren Griesdorn to wide receiver Austin Berning to position the Flyers deep into Parkway territory. A few plays later, running back Niles Keller took a pitch from Griesdorn on a sweep right, and scampered into the end zone for a touchdown with 8:44 remaining in the first quarter. Mitch Bergman's extra point kick was good, and Marion Local led 7-0.

The Flyers again forced Parkway to punt on the next drive and took over near their own 30-yard line. Marion Local again had no trouble moving the ball down the field, using a steady diet of running plays, before backup quarterback Ryan Mescher found wideout Jared Prenger over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown strike on the sixth play of the drive. Bergman again connected on the extra point and Marion Local upped their lead to 14-0 with just over 4:00 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Flyers weren't finished putting points on the board in the first period, however, as Marion Local would again force a Parkway punt and march down the field, scoring on a 15-yard run around the left side of the offensive line by running back Alex Post. Another Bergman kick made it 21-0 with 59 seconds remaining.

Only eight seconds later, Parkway quarterback Bryce Bedwell and wide receiver Riley Bransteter couldn't connect on a sweep pitch and Marion Local's A.J. Homan pounced on the fumble, giving the Flyers possession at the Parkway 27-yard line.

This time, however, it would be Marion Local failing to capitalize on a miscue. Parkway forced the Flyers into a fourth-and-long situation field goal try, but an errant snap forced the Flyers' holder to try to run for a first down and he was stopped in the backfield, giving Parkway control of the footbal and a swing of momentum.

Unfortunately for the Parkway faithful in attendance, their Panthers failed to move the ball again and punted away the pigskin for the third time. Marion Local took control at the Panthers' 45-yard line, and after a few running plays, Mescher hit Prenger again, this time for 24 yards, to set the Flyers up with first-and-goal on the Panthers' one-yard line. Fullback Chris Kemper bullied his way up the middle for a touchdown on the ensuing play, Bergman's kick was good once more, and Marion Local took a 28-0 lead with 7:53 left in the half.

Nearly four minutes later, after two Parkway punts and one for Marion Local, the Flyers would regain possession at the Parkway 28-yard line thanks to a 20-yard punt return by Lee Pierron. Seconds later, Post again found a sizable running lane, this time up the middle, and scurried 11 yards into the end zone for his second rushing score of the day. Bergman nailed his fifth extra point try of the night, and Marion Local stretched their lead to 35-0.

Parkway's offense sputtered once more and the Panthers punted yet again, the sixth punt of the night, but Marion Local simply ran out the clock to head into halftime with the score still at 35-0.

The second half started out with a glimmer of hope for Parkway, as Marion Local took the kickoff, but then committed two penalties to back the Flyers up to their own 10-yard line. Marion Local quickly turned it around, though, as they drove 90 yards on 16 plays for a score. The Flyers had eaten over seven minutes off the clock before Keller ran the ball two yards up the middle for the touchdown. Bergman connected on the extra point once more, and Marion Local extended their lead to 42-0.

Most of the Marion Local starters exited the game after that drive, and the rest of the game was filled with several punts by each team and an interception of Bedwell by Logan Albers, and the score stood at 42-0 as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Parkway head coach Ed Kuhn commented after the game that Marion Local provided exactly what he had expected heading into the contest.

"Marion Local always gives you the same," said Kuhn. "They are a good football team. They are well-coached and they do a lot of things right."

With the MAC conference slate only getting more difficult, Kuhn also gave his thoughts on his team's focus going forward.

"Well, we just go back to practice and working on fundamentals," Kuhn noted. "We continue working on what we are trying to do. We are not going to worry about who is coming to town or where we are going, but focusing on ourselves and how we get better."

Marion Local was led in passing by Mescher, who finished 7 of 12 for 118 yards and one touchdown. Alex Post was the leading rusher, as he carried the ball 17 times for 120 yards and two scores. Niles Keller also added 74 yards and two scores on nine carries. Kemper accounted for the other rushing score.

For Parkway, Bedwell was 7 of 17 on the evening, passing for 33 yards and an interception. Shawn Miller added 23 yards on 14 carries, while Kris Hughes added 24 yards on three carries. Dillon Long caught two passes for 14 yards.

With the win, Marion Local improves to 3-0 on the year (1-0 MAC), while Parkway falls to 0-3 (0-1 MAC).